Discover British Columbia’s great gold rush history
British Columbia is rich in history going back to the days of the fur traders, gold rush and finally the building of the railroad. Your tour of the gold rush trail will bring you to areas where the first pioneers settled and thousands of prospectors came in search of gold.
The Gold Rush Trail starts at Fort Langley and travels along the Fraser River to the Cariboo Country. Built in 1839, Fort Langley was part of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s network of fur trading posts across what is now Western Canada. In response to the gold rush, British Columbia was proclaimed a Crown Colony at Fort Langley in 1858.
The Fraser Valley is dotted with little towns rich in the history of the Gold Rush. Stop at Yale, a quaint town which swelled from a population of 7 to 800 almost overnight with the gold rush. Yale has a museum and nearby is historic Alexander Bridge. By going down the Fraser River by motor raft will show the original gold rush trail. You will see what an amazing feat this was. Take a trip over Hell’s Gate on the Airtram for an amazing view of the Fraser River.
You will leave the Fraser River Valley and enter the Cariboo country. You can stop at historic Hat Creek Ranch, a roadhouse used as a stopping house for the miners.
Your next stop is Quesnel, the “Gold Pan City,” home of famous Billy Barker. Quesnel, since the early 1860’s, has been the gateway to Barkerville and became the commercial centre of the Cariboo gold rush in 1862. Travel to famous Barkerville, a ghost town set up as in the Gold Rush Era. Experience the gold rush as if you were there at the time. The town boasts numerous shops, restaurants, a theatre with evening performances, and buildings as it was in the 1800’s during the time of the famous gold rush. Imagine being a miner in those early days. Enjoy the elegance of British Columbia’s country hospitality. The local hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are situated in heritage buildings constructed as if in the gold rush.
On the way back to Vancouver travel along the Cariboo Wagon Trail, the original Wagon Road to Lillooet,” Mile 0″ of the gold rush trail. Lillooet is named the “little nugget” town as it was the starting point for many miners in search of gold. You can visit the historical sights such as the “hanging tree” and the museum.
A small detour from Lillooet takes you to Tyax Mountain Resort. Amongst other activities at the resort, you can enjoy the Gold Fever Experience. The Tyaughton Lake watershed is the site of a legendary lost Indian gold mine where you can use a sluice box, shovel, pick or gold pans to find real gold. A Mining and Ghost Town Sightseeing Tour may also be enjoyed during your stay.